Just about any homeowner has experienced it at least once. Late at night, a loud, strange noise in the walls or under the floor. The good news is that the odds you have a ghost problem are… low.
The bad news is that the odds you have a problem with loud pipes are significantly higher. Today we’ll go over a few reasons for loud pipes and what you might be able to do about it.
Some of these issues can be fixed on your own without too much trouble, but we’d recommend caution when it comes to messing around with your pipes. Unless you know what you’re doing, there’s the risk of having a big mess on your hands.
Keep reading to learn what you should know.
Cause #1: Water Hammer
A water hammer occurs when water is flowing in a pipe and all at once either stops or reverses. Perhaps the most common cause of this problem is when a valve suddenly closes and then the flowing water thuds to a stop against it.
This will sound, as you might expect, like a dull thud wherever the water is stopping. It’s also not good for pipes and often a sign a different check valve should be installed.
Cause #2: Expanding and Contracting Pipes
One of the most common causes of strange pipe noise, pipe expansion occurs when a pipe’s temperature changes. Contraction occurs when a pipe cools, and expansion occurs when it is heated.
Whether the pipes are metal or CPVC, expansion and contraction are, on some level, inevitable. That said, various expansion calculators and guides can be found so that your system can be designed with this expansion in mind. This is definitely something you should consider professional help with.
While it can be hard to eliminate the sound of expansion and contraction entirely, these sounds shouldn’t be frequent or loud. The subtle moving of pipes as they expand and contract can cause damage, leading to failure over time. The less a system accounts for expansion, the more maintenance it is going to need.
Cause #3: Loose Pipes
If a pipe is rattling or banging, that can be a sign it is loose. Of all the issues that can cause loud pipes, loose pipes are the one that may be easiest for the average person to fix themselves (at least if it isn’t in a funky spot).
Pipes can be broadly be called “loose” if one of two things is happening. The first scenario is if they loosen from their restraints/fasteners, allowing them to wiggle where they should be held tight to a wall or other surface.
The second is if the pipe’s connection loosens at the screw/joint, where it meets another pipe or other applicable device. This allows the pipe to wiggle at the meeting place, where there is now more give than should be possible.
For the most part, a loose pipe can usually be fixed just by tightening it. The difficult part will be if the pipe is inaccessible, as you may then need to remove a section of the wall to fix the issue. If this is too much for you, it might be time to Google ‘plumber near me“, and get things fixed professionally.
Cause #4: Overpressure
Overpressure, which can manifest as a squealing sound, occurs when a pipe is put under more pressure than it is meant to handle. This can sometimes be the sign of a serious issue, as pipes can burst under too much pressure.
The only two permanent solutions to overpressure are to either replace the pipes with ones equipped for the pressure or lower the pressure the pipes are being put under. Either way, you will want to talk to a professional to solve the issue in a cost- and time-effective manner.
Cause #5: Obstructions
The final issue we will discuss today is pipe obstructions. Obstructions often manifest in a gurgling sound, as the water in your pipes flows strangely around built-up gunk (often soap scum).
Whether you can handle this issue on your own or not depends on the obstruction. Drain cleaners can only clear some obstructions, and often can be quite caustic. If you’re not careful, drain cleaning solutions can damage your pipes and may cause more issues than they solve.
Cleaning an obstruction can sometimes be an involved, gross process. That said, if you have the right tools and some time on your hands, you may be able to do it right yourself.
When to Call the Professionals
If you’re not sure how to fix your loud pipes, it’s time to get some professional help. Lucky for you, we know a Columbia plumber service capable of handling not just loud pipes but almost any other plumbing issue too!
We don’t recommend getting a professional plumber’s help just for the convenience of it. Our experts at Plumb Time come with both tools and expertise most people don’t have. Where you may have seen a given issue once or twice, we’ve dealt with it dozens of times.
While a noisy pipe is one thing, ignoring the problem or botching the fix can be a disaster. It can lead to damaged pipes, water leaks, and more. A professional service can do a job fast, right, and will be cheaper than having to fix the water damage a leak might cause if ignored!
Are You Dealing With Loud Pipes?
That covers the most common issues that may cause loud pipes. As a rule, if you’re unsure how to fix the issue yourself, hire someone to help. Don’t ignore strange pipe noises; they can be the sign of a serious underlying issue.
If you’ve got questions or would like to hire our services, contact us. From there, we can discuss the issues you’re having and provide a quote. With more than 28 years of experience in the field of plumbing, there is no issue too big that we can’t help you solve!